a term for the transitional state between wakefulness and sleep, characterized by dreamlike auditory, visual, or tactile sensations when half-awake.

One morning many years ago I woke up early and went to check the time on my phone, but I was instead surprised & intrigued to see six strange words on the screen: “I need to talk to Gentor.”

What on earth? It made no sense at all. I didn’t know anyone or anything called Gentor and I certainly didn’t want to speak to him/her/it. Eventually I summoned a vague memory of mentally procuring this random sentence out of nowhere as I was trying to fall asleep the previous night. In a semi-slumberous frame of mind, I must have woken and keyed the words onto my phone as a note.

Over the following few weeks I did some research and found this was caused by a phenomenon known as the hypnagogic state. This is the watery, dreamlike state of consciousness your mind turns to as you are in the process of falling asleep or waking up. If the conditions are just right during this transitional phase between wakefulness and slumber, you may experience brief hallucinations in the form of images, shapes, colours, sounds, physical sensations, or in my case, random words & phrases. From personal experience, these sensory perceptions are not usually as poignant or lifelike as those experienced during an actual dream; instead I find they present themselves in very short bursts and are often more easily memorable.

Anyway, recently I’ve noticed these hypnagogic words have been coming to me two or three times a week, so over the past two months I’ve written down every one that my mind has graced me with! Most nights as I go to bed, I close my eyes, begin to drift off, and then all of a sudden out of nowhere I’ll be hit by this short, ludicrous, extremely random statement or question that makes barely any sense at all, sometimes even including completely made-up words that have no meaning whatsoever. I wake up and write it down as soon as this happens – and now, for your enoyment, transcribed below is this unpredictable and peculiar insight into my subconscious night-time mentality:

I first had a chicken when I was twelve.

They get all desperate to find out.

You don’t want to suit me up to be a bear?

In the process of renewing and travelling, did you go travelling?

Red guppy beach steps.

Were you a better king for Jack Thompson?

It might just be a soaked up point of water but he’s not ready to justify his actions.

Just put it with my pride and strike the wall.

Broad beans and bomb shells don’t do what they do.

There’s enough memory in this biscuit to keep the silly climber alive.

I have olive oil, but how can a product which is a mild apleasiastic help you? I can’t keep my finger on the zero.

Elevation can’t stand the personal justice of our bleeding yacht.

I love the shadow that they want.

After three nights on the same row, everyone was asking them: why did they move the traffic?

We don’t want you stoppers running into sand, come on, leave it!

What are your secrets, what did you say to them twice?

Draw the line on the strawberry glace pot.

Slipping out junk and the Rockerfeller’s procedure.

The story is of Sarssche.

Turning into a rabbit bagoon egg.

Café Piara D’ombardo.

One noodle he met her and nobody fetched her.

Heritage farm listed like a Chinese letter rip.

Quickly, you’re up the tree.

We had a faisty elephant come in to see us at number two.

There are the shortly’s, these are the nowhere else.

Don’t give coffee a break as you did at the Mandatee.

Nothing represents an actor more than a box of charred bananas.

Err….. crazy hey?! Feel free to leave a comment if you’ve experienced anything like this yourself. I’m off to bed now to compose more tales from hypnagogia…


Since this post was published, there is now a Twitter account called @HypnagogicTales, as well as a web site dedicated entirely to these crazy phrases at hypnagogia.com.au – please follow & visit!

No, before you ask, I’m not talking about the movie, TV series or the Human League song.  (and what a cheesy but great song it is, I must add!)

I’m instead talking about actual electric dreams.  Let me explain:

A few weeks ago at approximately 3:30am whilst deep in slumber, I witnessed within my own head a very memorable and vivid scene.  I dreamt that I was walking through a setting in the bush with lush, green trees all around me and the bright blue sky above – when I noticed that a swing set mysteriously appeared ahead of me.  It was similar to one you might see in a children’s playground, except its chain was unusually long and the whole unit was made of metal that shone a radiant, almost overpowering silver colour.  As you would only expect in such a situation, I walked on up to that swing set, sat myself down and started pushing myself to and fro, slowly at first but gradually gaining momentum, swaying like a heavy pendulum in the open air.

And how fresh that air was.  You know when you have those breathtaking dreams where you’re flying?  Where every molecule of breeze massages your cool skin, you take in the astonishing scenery surrounding you and generally feel like you’re the king of the world?  This was one of those dreams.  Higher and higher I kept swinging, feeling like I was ten years old again, trying to get so high in the hope that I could defy the laws of gravity and keep the swing revolving around the bar in a constant centifugal motion (that didn’t happen unfortunately, but it was worth a shot!)

I felt so free and refreshed on this swing; it was almost lucid in a way, like I knew that I was in a suspended reality and I could keep this incredible sensation up for as long as I wanted.  However as I soon found out, this wasn’t to be…

All of a sudden, seemingly out of nowhere, a set of electrical power lines materialised right in front of me, before my two hallucinatory eyes, suspended between two massive power poles.  And I’m not talking about urban-like telegraph poles you might see around the city, I’m talking about those humongous eyesores sticking out of the countryside that carry electricity for hundreds of miles – not unlike this:

The swing kept on swinging.  It just wouldn’t stop.  The higher I swung, the more uncomfortably close I was getting to those blasted power lines.  No matter how hard I tried to slow down my oscillations, I just kept swinging and swinging, higher and higher, I was screaming for the damn thing to STOP! STOP! STOP! but it just wasn’t abiding by my wishes.  Almost within reach now I felt my muscles locking up and my throat clenching, getting ready for my impending doom, before finally the cold steel chain of the swing made contact with the power line and thousands of volts of sharp, scalding electricity sent shockwaves through every last vein of my body, burning me to a crisp upon my now-charcoaled mid-air platform.

I woke up in an instant.  Not only did I remember every little detail from the horror I just experienced within my own mind, but I felt all the effects of it as well.  My whole body was numb from tingling, my hands were shaking, my heart was actually paliptating and I’d broken out into a sweat.  For a while there I wasn’t quite sure if what I’d just been through was actually real or if it was merely a dream, but I managed to calm down after about half an hour and eventually got myself back to sleep.

I was fine again by the morning; as a matter of fact I was quite impressed with the novelty of having a dream where I was actually able to physically feel its effects!  I recalled the experience to a few friends over the following days but didn’t think much more of it.  That is… until last night…

It was about the same time, around 3am, give or take an hour, and once again I found myself in a dream-like state.  This time I was situated in my room in the middle of the day, I remember my blinds being half open and the bright, hot sun bursting through the windows, filling the room up with a warm glow.  My room looked exactly the same in my dream as it does in real life – my bed taking up most of the floor space, with my pedastal fan, office chair, laptop, keyboard and guitar all lining the floor opposite the bed.  The dream started off very ordinarily, I don’t even remember exactly what I was doing, but something suddenly struck my attention out of the corner of my eye.  It was a little black spider, sitting atop my keyboard.  I took a closer look and found out that it wasn’t just any old little black spider; it was actually an ugly, hairy, hell of a funnel-web, one of the deadliest eight-legged creatures known to man – not unlike this:

Quite frankly, I shit myself!

I went searching for the only thing I could think of to remove the spider from its threatening perch on my piano keys, and came back into my room armed with the vacuum cleaner.  No, I didn’t switch it on and suck him up, instead I removed the vacuum head, unplugged the hose that sticks into the other end, and moved towards the spider with the big metal inhalant pipe pointed right at him.  (Now remember the key word here – metal!)

I was hoping to somehow coerce him onto the pipe so I could throw him out the window with more than an arms length between us, but he didn’t co-operate at all.  Instead he aggressively lifted up the front half of his body, directed his fangs straight towards me and bit square into that pipe, piercing the metal with his venemous talons.  I saw a bright flash of white from the contact point, sparking up like fireworks, jolting down that metal pipe, and in an instant, charging my body once again with thousands of volts of sharp, scalding electricity.

I woke up, shaken by my ghastly encounter with the funnel-web, but thankful that it all took place merely within my subconscious.  And strangely enough, my right arm (which had been holding the metal pipe in my dream) was tingling badly, as if it had been electrocuted in real life.

So, what a crazy couple of dreams they were!  They were definitely amongst the most lifelike dreams I’ve ever had in terms of vividness and after-effects.  Normally I would go forth and look up a dream interpretations website to discover what on earth this could all signify, but I think I might leave it for a while and see if I can figure out my own meaning to it, seeing as these dreamlike physical electric shocks have been a recurring theme.  I’ll post an update if I ever come to a conclusion!

But for now, I’d love to hear what you think this could signify?  And have you ever had a dream like this where you actually feel a similar physical after-effect?

Goodnight, my dears – and with all due respect, I sincerely hope we don’t meet together in electric dreams!


Follow-up: Huda (who commented below) has posted an interesting response blog regarding one of her own dreams she had in the past – you can read it here!